Price, Susan

Price, Susan



In Brief

Susan Price is best known as a collector of children’s books. Price began collecting books as a child, and as a teenager catalogued her collection. She is also a historian, researcher, children’s author and archivist. She has published a book on New Zealand libraries, and another that documents the history of her own book collection.


Price, Susan (1960- ) is a writer, historian, researcher and archivist, but is best known as a collector of children’s books.

Susan Price was born in Wellington, and, with the exception of five years in Sydney as a child, has continued to live there. The daughter of children’s writer Beverley Randell and publisher Hugh Price, Susan grew up surrounded by books.

Price’s collection of children’s books was started by her grandmother, Gwen Randell, in the late 1920s. Price herself began collecting as a child, and as a teenager catalogued her collection, which today numbers 20,000 volumes.

Price’s collection consists mainly of casebound fiction for 9-18 year-olds and spans the 1930s to the present. There are over 70 New Zealand writers represented in the collection, with the majority of the collection featuring writers from the United Kingdom, North America and Australia.

Price also selects books for the Youth Section of the Kippenberger Library at the Queen Elizabeth II Army Museum at Waiouru. To date she has found over 600 books explaining war to children, with a concentration on anti-war novels set during the First and Second World Wars.

Writing in the New Zealand Listener, Eva Petro describes Price as ‘a small, intense and highly articulate woman with passionately held views on social justice – concerns that are reflected in the collection.’

In 1991 Price donated her collection to the National Library of New Zealand with the proviso that the collection remain with her in her home and that she remain its curator.

In the same year she donated the collection, Price published Books for Life (Gondwanaland Press, 1991) a history of her collection. Writing in New Zealand Libraries Celia Dunlop attributes Price with creating ‘a useful reference tool for librarians, teachers and students: a guide to some of the key authors and best writing for young people since World War II.’

Price’s interest in her family history continued in the family history, Charles and Annie Aller and their Six Daughters (Gondwanaland Press, 2000), written with Robin Allardyce.

More recently Price has become a children’s book writer, her titles include Locked In (Nelson Thomson Learning, 2001) and The Little Blue Horse (Nelson Thomson Learning, 2001).

Price makes an annual scholarship of $2,000 available through the Victoria University Foundation, awarded every second year. This is for a post-graduate who wishes to study children's literature and make use of The Susan Price Collection in their research.

In 2004 she gave a grant of $20,000 to Wellington-based children's writer Kate De Goldi to help her research a book on childrens literature.
Price is also a trustee of the Randell Cottage Writers' Trust, which works in partnership with the French Embassy to offer the Randell Cottage Writers Residency for one French and one New Zealand writer each year.

Access to The Susan Price Collection is available by appointment by phoning (04) 475 8092 (Wellington, New Zealand).

Old Wellington in Colour ; from hundred year-old picture post cards (Steele Roberts, 2008) was co-authored by her father Hugh Price.


Updated January 2017.